Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 14, 2018

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Q.1) “Emergency was a constitutional and political crisis” How far was the declaration of emergency justified? Discuss the major impacts of the emergency.

Answer: Though emergency is imposed due to a political crisis, it is justified on the following grounds.

Need for emergency:

Dr B R Ambedkar observed that: ‘All federal systems including American are placed in a tight mould of federalism. No  matter what the circumstances, it cannot change its form and shape. It can never be unitary. On the other hand, the Constitution of India can be both unitary as well as federal according to the requirements of time and circumstances. In normal times, it is framed to work as a federal system. But in times of Emergency, it is so designed as to make it work as though it was a unitary system.”

Major impacts of emergency:

  1. It transforms a federal constitution into unitary one.
  2. It has the potential of extending the term of Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies beyond 5 years.
  3. National Emergency impacts Fundamental Rights provided in the constitution.
  4. In case of president’s rule, it empowers the executive over the legislature.
  5. Where a ministry resigns or is dismissed on losing majority support in the assembly and the governor recommends imposition of President’s Rule without probing the possibility of forming an alternative ministry.
  6. Where the governor makes his own assessment of the  support of a ministry in the assembly and recommends imposition of President’s Rule without allowing the ministry to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly.
  7. Where the ruling party enjoying majority support in the assembly has suffered a massive defeat in the general elections to the Lok Sabha such as in 1977 and 1980.
  8. Internal disturbances not amounting to internal subversion or physical breakdown.
  9. Maladministration in the state or allegations of corruption against the ministry or stringent financial exigencies of the state.

 

Q.2) ‘Urbanization in India is a double-edged sword for women’- Discuss.

Answer: Urbanisation is among the defining features of current times, but it can mean very different things for men and women.

Benefits to women:

  1. Greater independence and opportunity for women.
  2. Women make significant contributions to their households, neighbourhoods and the city through their paid and unpaid labour.
  3. More freedom and enjoyment of socio-political and economic rights.

Harms to women:

  1. High risks of violence
  2. Constraints on employment, mobility and leadership reflect deep gender-based inequalities.
  3. Issues of transport safety
  4. Deep rooted patriarchal outlook of the society, eve-teasing at work front, commodification of  women.
  5. Gender gaps in labour and employment, tenure rights, access to and accumulation of assets
  6. Lack of representation in formal structures of urban governance show that women are often the last to benefit from the prosperity of cities.

 

Q.3) In the view of rising air pollution, Government has decided to bring Electric Vehicle in cities. Critically analyse the measures provided by Government in the view of rising air pollution, even while ensuring improved urban mobility. Discuss the challenges involved in the implementation of these measures.

Answer: Measures to bring electric vehicles:

  1. Recently, government announced that India would make the paradigm shift to full electric mobility by 2030.
  2. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME)
  3. Government is planning to bring a policy for EV charging infrastructure. This policy proposes granting subsidies to PSUs for setting up a basic charging station network in big cities and highways in order to spur on EV sales.

Challenges involved in implementing these measures

  1. Personal cars are the focus in developed countries because these are the principal means of transport. Our initial focus must be unquestionably on public transportation—bus, taxi and auto fleets.
  2. Subsidizing a few cars with inadequate charging infrastructure will lead to wasteful expenditure and not reduce oil consumption and emissions.
  3. If we opt for the charging model, traffic congestion will worsen, with lengthy queues.
  4. There are concerns about previous experiences in China and Israel. But these models were meant for personal cars and were costly. Lack of marketing, proper execution and mismanagement led to the failure of the promising EV start-up in Israel Better Place.
  5. Currently, the subsidy structure for a car does not incentivise the purchase of an electric car as the capital cost is much higher.

 

Q.4) Recently an amendment Bill to Representation of People’s Act, 1951, that allows NRIs to vote via proxy has been passed in the Lok Sabha. Identify the benefits and challenges associated with the proxy voting.

Answer: Benefits of proxy voting:

  1. There are many NRI citizens abroad. Of these, only 10,000 to 12,000 have travelled to the country to exercise his or her franchise during the elections.  By granting them proxy voting rights, they will be able to exercise franchise during elections and also need not spend foreign currency to come to India during elections.
  2. It will also enable overseas Indian to considerably influence the election results, especially in states such as Punjab, Kerala and Gujarat where a number of expatriates hail from.  It would allow the NRIs to remain connected with the country.
  3. This expands the breadth and depth of democracy in the country.

Challenges with proxy voting:

  1. This system suffers from the problem of ‘trust deficiency’. Proxy voter may not vote as per the wish of overseas voter
  2. It violates the principle of ‘secrecy of voting’.
  3. Former election commissioners too have expressed apprehensions in the past about proxy voting for NRIs
  4. Constitution talks of ‘one person one vote’. But a proxy voter is going to cast multiple votes. The Bill violates many provisions of Constitution including Article 19.
  5. Regional Parties and Independent candidates will find it difficult to campaign in foreign countries
  6. Proxy voting also threatens the core of democracy as we are giving special privileges to those who have migrated abroad, while many domestic migrants are still struggling to seek voting rights.
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